A report to the Brent Community Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee lays out the stark facts. Graphs show the annual trend since 2013 (click on images to enlarge):-->
The most significant trend is the proportion of Year 6 children who are obese as they make the transition to secondary school. The figures are well above the London and England averages and the latest figure at 28.6% compares with 24.63% in 2013.
4 and 5 year olds in Reception classes have a lower level of overweight and obese children but there the proportion of overweight children has peaked at 14.8% (13.06% in 2013) and the proportion of obese children is almost back to 2013 levels at 13.8% (13.97%) despite a dip in the interim.
The report looks at the relationship between deprivation and obesity and found only a weak link in ward data:
Analysis by ethnic group shows the highest overweight and obese group is the Black group but the Asian increase in obesity rates from Reception to Year 6 is also worth noting.
The report LINK lists initiatives already underway to tackle the problem including promotion of breast feeding, adoption of Maternity Early Childhood Sustained Home Visiting model, the Healthy Early Years Award introduced in 2012, Health Schools London award, Action on Sugar (includes sugar free Tuesdays), Allotment and Food growing Strategy, promotion of physical activity and action on takeaways near schools.
All this hasn't reduced child obesity although there is a slight reduction for 2016-17 in Year 6 overweight children. Clearly more needs to be done to tackle what is an urgent public health issue.
The report outlines what is proposed by the Brent Clinical Commissioning Group:
The proposed Service Delivery Improvement Plan would be:
1) Review food provided by the Trust in line with guidance on reducing obesity and health weight by end of Quarter 1 (30 Jun 2018);
2) Develop a local action plan to promote healthier options by end of Quarter 2 (30 Sep’18), and monitor in Quarter 3 (Oct-Dec 2018) and Quarter 4 (Jan-Mar 2019);
3) Develop a plan for front-line staff to have ‘Make Every Contact Count’ training about reducing childhood obesity and local weight management services by end of Quarter 2 (30 Sep 2018), and monitor in Q4 (Jan-Mar 2019);
4) Identify conditions where obesity is a risk factor (e.g.CHD, dementia, diabetes), ensure family members are aware of ways to reduce their risks by being healthy weight, and ensure the family knows how to access weight management support, in Q3 (1 Oct 2018) onwards.
The treatment of childhood obesity
The new 0-19 children’s public health service includes tier 1 and 2 weight management service. This is a preventive universal service with additional lifestyle weight management services for those children, and their families, who are overweight or obese. This is a new service within health visiting and school nursing and mobilisation has been delayed by difficulties recruiting to the new team. However, the full establishment has now been appointed.
The CCG commissions tier 3 services for those children who require specialist paediatrician or dietician clinical assessment and advice. A very small number of children will require drug treatment or surgery.
The CCG and public heath secured funding from Health Education England which was used to provide tier 1 weight management training to front line staff working with children in Brent. 173 people have attended this training which should ensure a consistent high quality offer across the Borough.
Whilst BMI is a poor indicator of health & has to be taken with a pinch of salt, the term 'child obesity' suggests the problems reside in the children. Yet they don't have a wage to buy their own food. its also not their fault they reside in a borough that has illegal limits of air pollution, poor quality infrastructure and ever decreasing Green spaces as the planning department in Brent continues to build these concrete jungles with limited spaces that are safe to play. This is despite Brent having the lowest percent (21.9%) of Green space across all the London boroughs. Also, Brent is approving these schools which only have space for children to play on the roof. Surely alarm bells should ring at that.
Meanwhile, Brent make a choice to cut facilities that provide activities like Stonebridge adventure playground, yet give nearly £18m of community infrastructure spending back to developers for steps. It's a disgrace.
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